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My Space Age 1957 – infinity and beyond

August 5, 2014

1957 Sputnik arrived & so did I.  Meanwhile the first astronauts were being sought in The Right Stuff – Tom Wolf 

1962 Telstar the first communications satellite was launched. I was dancing to Telstar performed by The Tornadoes and watching FireBall XL5

1963 Dr Who crossed the space time vortex on to our little black & white screens. Daleks couldn’t go upstairs & female companions screamed a lot – but at least they were there.  The 12th or is it 13th Doctor materialises on our screens in August.

While in real life 1963 Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space.

1966 Star Trek! – Still Living long and prospering, nearly 50 years later.  Lieutenant Uhura brought us a strong black female character and the first inter-racial kiss on US TV.

Both series showed us with other worlds but used these to reflect problems on Earth – discrimination, care of the planet, Cold War.

Saturn 5 engines1968 Space is cool; fashion by Paco Rabanne clothed the future in foil and created the costumes for Barbarella – not everyone’s idea of women in space.  We were up there with Major Tom’s Space Oddity.

Books and TV programmes by Patrick Moore and Carl Sagan showed a generation the wonders of the universe and today the people they inspired Brian Cox, Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Chris Lintoff continue their work on TV and in print.

In 1969 aged 11, I bought 2001 a space odyssey by Arthur C Clarke which became possibly the most famous #spaceread  of all.  The Stanley Kubrick film sequence showing the flight to the space station and on to the moon accompanied by the Johann Strauss – Blue Danube is the a bench mark for later SF films.

Arthur C Clarke remains my favourite #spaceread author – try his amazing short stories as a taster. Try Summer time on Icarus, 9 billion names for God, and Into the comet

1969 The Moon!  45 years ago on our TV – Apollo 11 lifts off to the theme of Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss – previously used in the film of 2001 – life imitating art

Authors had already travelled to the Moon:  Jules Verne’s from the Earth to the Moon and HG Wells – First Men on the Moon  all valves, bellows, and sprockets:  steam punk from the age of steam?

Tintin was there in 1959 for Destination Moon, in 1969 the Clangers were already residents and may be back there in 2015.

By 1970 surely we would all be living on the moon soon?  – on TV UFO  showed us our future lives on the moon 1980 in purple wigs.

Maybe we can follow Curiosity on the #PathtoMars  – “Make it so”

Sue Applegate – Surrey Library Service @SurreyLibraries

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